Offensive spectacle ends spring football

Usually two separate purple and white teams would battle each other out to end another year's round of spring practices. This year however, injuries forced Huskies head coach Keith Gilbertson to use his imagination and develop a non-traditional final scrimmage with a modified scoring system that put his purple offense against his white defense.

In front of approximately 4,000 fans at Husky Stadium, the purple offense defeated the white defense 49-20 to signal the end of spring drills and the beginning of individual summer workouts.

Spring football ended without a clear starting quarterback. The trio of Casey Paus, Isaiah Stanback, and Carl Bonnell each had their chances to win the job, but according to Gilbertson, the team may head into fall camp still looking to decide who to start.

Bonnell, Paus, and Stanback went in a rotation to lead the offense, but each struggled on their first drives. Both Bonnell and Paus led their group to three-and-outs while Stanback led his unit to a first down before punting to give the defense a 7-1 early lead. However, things changed as all three quarterbacks shook off their early struggles to outscore the defense 48-13 the rest of the way.

Bonnell had his best drive on his second possession. A nice option to Kenny James and a 24-yard strike to Corey Williams gave the offense tow big first downs. The offense also converted a fourth down attempt to keep the drive going. On the very next play, Bonnell took the snap to roll out to his right and found a wide-open James in the end-zone for the first touchdown of the day to put the purple team up 12-7.

Not to be outdone, Paus took over the offense on his 20 and led his team down the field. Paus stepped back to find Quintin Daniels on a quick 10-yard slant, but Daniels bounced off of a couple defenders and raced down the field 59 yards for another touchdown to put the offense up 20-7.

The defense looked as if they settled down as they locked down Stanback and his crew for another three-and-out on the next drive. Bonnell took over to continue his hot streak but the defense came through again when a Bonnell pass bounced off Louis Rankin and into the hands of Kyle Trew. Just like that, the defense cut their defecit to 20-14.

Stanback had his best drive on his third and fourth attempts. On his third drive, Stanback found Sonny Shackelford for a 21-yard gain and a first down. Stanback then showed his scrambling abilities for an 18-yard gain and another first down. A long pass that was just out of the reach of Charles Smith prevented another touchdown, but Evan Knudson came in to nail a 46-yard field goal to put the offense up 34-14. Gilbertson kept the hot-handed Stanback in for a second consecutive drive and he didn't disappoint. Stanback found a wide-open Chris Singleton who beat Derrick Johnson down the field for a 69-yard touchdown pass to put the offense up 42-14.

According to Gilbertson, Saturday's showing by the offense was the best that he's seen the entire spring. All three quarterbacks had similar stats. Paus was 6-for-11 for 112 yards with a touchdown pass, Stanback was 4-for-10 for 103 yards and a touchdown pass, and Bonnell was 5 for 11 for 61 yards with a touchdown pass and an interception.

The running game looked productive with James having a firm grasp on job with 35 yards on five attempts. Rankin also rushed for 27 yards on four attempts while Shelton Sampson had 18 yards on five attempts. Chris Singleton returned to action and had 23 yards on 10 attempts.


Scoring Breakdown

Purple (Offense)

Touchdowns: 4 for 24 points (James, Daniels, Tuiasosopo, Singleton)
Extra Points: 3 for 3 points (Knudson 2/2, Braunstein 1/2)
Field Goals: 1 for 3 points (Knudson, 46 yards)
First Downs: 19 for 19 points
Total: 49 points

White (Defense)

Three-and-Outs: 4 for 12 points
Turnovers: 1 for 4 points (Trew INT)
Series Stops: 4 for 4 points
Total: 20 points

Notes - More injuries: In what is being referred to as the "MASH Unit" by Gilbertson, another offensive lineman went down with Jens Jellen suffering a dislocated toe. Chris Singleton also suffered a broken nose on the very last play of the scrimmage.

Knudson is No.1: Evan Knudson re-affirmed his firm grasp on the placekicking duty with a solid performance today. Knudson hit both of his point-after attempts and hit 46-yard field goal with Michael Braunstein went 1-for-2 on his PAT attempts. Knudson also made a few solid punts on the day.

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